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A Collective Actions Approach to Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: An Analysis of Student Responses, Family Court Perspectives, & Key Characteristics of Successful and Sustainable Interventions
Nationally, 8 million, or 1 in 7 students, were chronically absent in 2015–2016, which increased by 800,000 compared in 2013–2014 (Jacobson, 2018). “A student who misses just two days of school each month, 18 days total, is considered to be chronically absent” (US Department of Education, 2016, p.1). The factors of poverty, health, culture and climate, and parental influences are suggested reasons for chronic absenteeism (Black et al., 2014; Dembo et al., 2016; Gottfried, 2017; Jacobsen et al., 2016; Patnode et al., 2018; Van Eck et al., 2016). The decision to implement attendance as an indicator of school accountability under ESSA, prompted several effective chronic absenteeism initiatives, that when implemented with fidelity had significant reductions in chronic absenteeism as well as core elements of successful and sustainable interventions. This mixed methods convergent parallel study investigated (N = 49) public middle schools and explored (N = 22,049) student responses for chronic absenteeism in middle school students. The study employed various data collection methods: analysis of state ex-post facto data, reviews of literature, sending a formalized invitation to interview, and interviewing responsible parties who work directly with chronic absenteeism youth. The following research questions guided this study: 1. What are the top three student reasons for being absent from school? 2. Is there a significant difference in middle school student ratings between schools with high, medium, and low chronic absenteeism? 3. How do family court magistrates, a director of juvenile services, and a court social worker from a state in the northeast describe the transitions of chronically absent middle schools’ students to non-chronically absent middle school students? Chi-Square analysis of ex-post facto data revealed twelve factors students identified as reasons for chronic absenteeism to be significant (p ≤ .001). Significant differences were found in chronic absenteeism rates of high, medium, and low chronic absenteeism middle schools for sickness, some other factors, bullied, and not safe at school as top-rated reasons for student absence. The interviews (n = 6) identified five collective actions: uniformity, monetary measures, personalized accountabilities, comprehensive communications, and consistency. Recommendations were discussed for educational leaders to create successful and sustainable interventions to reduce chronic absenteeism.
Educational leadership|Education Policy|Middle School education
Calabro-Pepin, Kerrie Lynn, "A Collective Actions Approach to Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: An Analysis of Student Responses, Family Court Perspectives, & Key Characteristics of Successful and Sustainable Interventions" (2020). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI28026416.